Should meal plans be required?

Erica O'Neal / Cluster Staff

Erica O'Neal / Cluster Staff

Erica O'Neal / Cluster Staff
Erica O’Neal / Cluster Staff

When coming to college, many incoming freshmen worry about food: where they are going to eat, how much it will cost and what kind of food will be served. At Mercer University, an unlimited meal plan is required for all freshmen, and it costs around $2,800 per semester. Although it is assuring to know that you can go into the cafeteria whenever it is open and have a meal, it should not be something required for all incoming freshmen.

The “freshman 15” is already a big worry for many new college students, so requiring them to have an unlimited meal plan could only worsen this issue. It is likely that if we have something that we can use without limit, we are going to take that to our advantage. In addition to this, most of the cafeteria food served is not very healthy unless it is a salad, so the meal plan does not work in the students’ favor if they wish to eat healthy. Students are constantly complaining about how there needs to be more healthy options.

We must also remember how expensive this unlimited meal plan is, especially for those who do not take complete advantage of it all the time. Some of us do not eat constantly at the cafeteria for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so to make us pay for the unlimited meal plan is not very reasonable. We are spending a lot of money that could be used for other, more useful things, such as textbooks.

Not only do students fi nd it expensive, but some do not even like the food that is served. While some of the food is pleasing, such as the cheeseburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, there are not many other good options to choose from. It seems as though a lot of students who have gone to the cafeteria haven’t left satisfied after eating their meal there.

Aside from the food and price, another thing that bothers many of the people going to the cafeteria are the long lines. Sometimes the food is not ready when the students pile in there, leaving many waiting in line while they only have an hour-long break in between classes.

If we should be required to have a meal plan, we should be able to choose what kind of meal plan we want, whether it is the 10, 14 or unlimited meal plan. This would allow students to have more of a say in what they are paying for.